August 5 2011
Santa Ana, California – Pacific Coast Hematology, Inc., a medical group in Orange County, and Dr. Glen Justice, who was the primary physician at the group, have agreed to pay the United States $7.5 million to settle a civil lawsuit alleging that they submitted false claims to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The agreement concludes a “whistleblower” lawsuit that was unsealed and dismissed on Wednesday by United States District Judge James V. Selna.
Justice, an oncologist who was the CEO and founder of Pacific Coast Hematology, was sentenced last month to 18 months in federal prison for submitting bills for cancer medications that were never provided to patients (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2011/104.html). The civil lawsuit alleged that Justice billed the Medicare program for injectable cancer medications that he never actually administered to his patients, thus depriving cancer victims of their medication.
The fraud, which allegedly began in 2003 and continued until late 2009, was brought to light by two “whistleblowers” who filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The whistleblowers – Dora Figueroa and Francisca Pages, both of whom worked for Justice at Pacific Coast Hematology – will receive an award of up to 25 percent of the settlement proceeds.
The civil case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; IRS – Criminal Investigation; and the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Howard F. Daniels